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Does he want to avoid the closet, or is he spying on you?

Sure, the title sounds a lot like a sci-fi warning, but there’s nothing wrong with it. Researchers Nirupam Roy of the University of Maryland and Jun Han of the National University of Singapore have come up with a way for a modern robotic vacuum cleaner to eavesdrop on its owners. They found that these favorite helpers were capable of it through Lidar technology (light detection and ranging). If you do not know it, it is normally responsible for laser mapping of the room. The experiment they undertook was based on the fact that sound vibrations vibrating objects on the floor can be detected by this laser. The experiment succeeded. Eavesdropping with a vacuum cleanerwhich, of course, is not equipped with a microphone at all, is really real.

In one of the experiments, the researchers let a television with selected programs run in the room. In the second, they played a human voice reading the digits from the speaker. Robotic vacuum cleaner modified to capture vibrations of objects around it (trash can, box, bag…), they let the information be sent via WiFi to their laptops. When they passed the signal through artificial intelligence with machine learning, 90% of the captured sound from the TV and speakers was identified and assign.

The experiment therefore showed that theoretical attacker would not have a big problem wiretapping with a robotic vacuum cleaner put into operation and use. And even from the opposite end of the world. Yes, of course there are many more devices in modern households with a much higher potential for wiretapping or other espionage. Nevertheless, the result of this test is an interesting proof and warning that At first glance, even “primitive” devices can be used to collect sensitive information.

It is a bit of an exaggeration to say that, as part of privacy protection, you can easily throw mobile phones and smart speakers into the safe, but anyway you can “get” a vacuum cleaner. Finally, let’s recall an earlier revelation from a similar area. Last year, it was discovered that a device with voice input can be remotely deceived by a laser.

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